Photo credits:
Stewen Quigley

SCAS News - 14 September, 2020

A Message from SCAS Principal Christina Garsten

The Principal's Note
14 September, 2020

Celebrating 35 Years of Curiosity-driven Research

On September 9th 2020, the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) celebrated its 35th
birthday. Under pre-pandemic circumstances, this would have been cause for a grand festivity
with invitees from across the world. Now, the celebration was held in a relatively low-key fashion
with the present group of Fellows-in-residence and staff. The moment was, nevertheless, cherished
as a memorable moment of gratitude and elation.

It was on September 9th 1985 that the first constitutive board meeting of SCAS was held. The initiative
came from within the Swedish research system, more precisely from the predecessors of the Swedish
Research Council (VR) and from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ). The constitution of SCAS was the
result of the vision, courage, and effort made by the first pioneers: Professors Bo Gustafsson, Rolf Torsten-
dahl, and Björn Wittrock, the founding Directors of SCAS. They envisioned the formation of an institute
that would stimulate advanced, problem-oriented, long-term basic research in the social sciences (and sub-
sequently more broadly) and that would encourage multidisciplinary and international engagement and cross-
fertilization. The founding Directors, with the later addition of Directors Ulf Hannerz, Barbro Klein, and
Göran Therborn, all deserve our deepest appreciation and recognition for creating and cultivating a place
where scholars may pursue their research under the most favourable conditions.

SCAS owes to a significant extent its present position as an internationally renowned institute for advanced
study to the efforts of Björn Wittrock, longstanding Principal of SCAS (1996-2018). The magnitude of Björn
Wittrock’s role for the development of the Collegium was duly recognized when he received the Gustavus
Adolphus Medal
in Gold (Uppsala University 2017), with the motivation: “… as Principal of SCAS and its
driving force ever since its creation in 1985 [he] has contributed more than anyone else to the strong position
of the institute as an internationally renowned institute for advanced study … and for having made great contri-
butions to the social sciences and the humanities in Sweden and in Europe”. The efforts of Björn Wittrock
continue to be honored by the yearly Wittrock Lecture, initiated by the Collegium in 2019.

The lively and intellectually stimulating environment at the Collegium owes its vigor also to the now 500 alumni
who have been in residence here, and to its current Fellows. Furthermore, the constructive advice and thinking
of the Academic Senate, and of the National Board, have contributed immensely to providing SCAS with a clear
vision ahead.

In the spirit outlined by the driving forces behind SCAS, we look forward to nurturing the vision of an institute
for advanced study as a place for curiosity-driven research, and embrace the times and opportunities to come.